Forensic Nursing as an Emerging New Career

Julie Blanche
April 5, 2010 — 1,781 views  
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Nursing is a career in healthcare which is evidently evolving nowadays.  What used to be known as a career specially designed for hospitals, healthcare facilities, and clinics are now being pushed towards a more different scenario.  Who knows how diversified nursing can be when there is an application of nursing skills on criminal cases with the birth of forensic nursing in our medical industry. 
Although forensic nursing is a relatively new practice, the emerging curiosities of nurses have increased, especially to those who would like to expand their capabilities beyond the nursing activities commonly known.  As the name implies, forensic nursing is a new field of nursing which combines the health care profession with the judicial system. 
Individuals who are opting for forensic nursing are exploring beyond the customary nursing practices.  They may actually have the passion on becoming experts in clinical diagnosis, legal nurse consulting, assisting in criminal prosecution cases, imparting care to victims of sexual assault and abuse, and other societal crimes.  A forensic nurse may actually perform crime scene investigations and may work as detectives in a more clinical setting in order to support and help police to catch the convicted individuals.  More so, forensic nurse may also testify in trials of their jurisdictions.  The most significant duty of a forensic nurse is to assist in the physical and emotional recovery of patients, providing the appropriate care, and at the same time protecting their human rights. 

It was in the year 1992 when an approximately seventy nurses gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA for the first national convention for sexual assault nurses.  It was at this time when IAFN, or the International Association of Forensic Nurses was discovered.  Their mission statement focused on the concept of nurses, willing to devote their energy and resources to create a new role in nursing which can provide an influence on the future of both health care and forensic science. 

Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in forensic nursing must be aware of the different specialties on this career category.  In this manner, they must choose among these specialties in order to pursue forensic nursing:

•    Sexual assault nursing
•    Correctional nursing
•    Gerontology specialization
•    Nurse coroner/death investigation
•    Legal nurse consulting
•    Domestic violence
•    Community education

In forensic nursing schools, students are taught to be able to deal with extreme human behavior especially when comforting victims while at the same time having the clinical eye of gathering and handling evidences.  Students aspiring to become an efficient forensic nurse must be able to cool themselves even under pressure in order to elicit the proper plan of action.  Most of the time, patients who are victims of sexual assault or abusive crime are not always open to come forward and talk about their bad experiences.  In this manner, an effective forensic nurse must learn to read into the actions, medical histories and markings on the body during physical examination and inspection in order to reveal the truth behind the real story of the crime. 


Julie Blanche